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Saucy Moroccan Meatballs on a bed of rice
Saucy Moroccan Meatless Balls with Fragrant Rice and Flaked Almonds
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

These Saucy Moroccan Meatless Balls are full of great texture from walnuts and chickpeas, and are given a sweetness from apricots. Served with red wine tomato sauce, tangy citrus fragrant rice and topped with flaked almonds, giving the dish a brilliant crunch.  

Course: main, starter
Cuisine: african, Italian, middle eastern, moroccan
Keyword: african, meat alternative, meatball, middle eastern, moroccan, passata, pattie, rice, tomato sauce
Servings: 6
Author: Vanessa
Meatless Balls
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 250 g mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 dried apricots, finely diced
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 tins of drained chickpeas) (other beans like haricot or borlotti will work fine too)
  • 6 tbsp ground chia seeds or linseed
  • 12 tbsp water
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour
  • Small handful fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil (for frying and for brushing the meatless balls)
  • Toasted almond flakes, to serve
  • Handful fresh coriander or parsley, chopped, to serve
Fragrant Rice
  • 350 g rice of choice
  • 4 preserved lemons, chopped finely
Passata-based Tomato Sauce
  • 1 large jar tomato passata (~700g)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • cup vegan red wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Chili (optional)
Meatless Balls
  1. Heat up 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan. Add the onion and fry until soft. Then add the garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes. 

  2. In a food processor, shred the chickpeas and set aside.

  3. Add to the onion and garlic the carrot and mushrooms, and sautee until soft but also until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. 

  4. Stir in all the spices, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for another few minutes on a low heat. Then add the tomato paste.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine the ground chia seeds / linseed and water, and allow it to form a jelly-like substance.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, place all sauteed ingredients from the pan, plus the shredded chickpeas, walnuts, zest, apricots, nutritional yeast, buckwheat flour and chia jelly. Combine the mix with your hands.

  7. Place the mix in the fridge for a few hours for it to firm up. This will allow you to more easily make the meatballs. 

  8. Before making up the meatless balls, preheat oven to 200 C. Line a baking tray with baking parchments and brush it with olive oil.

  9. Use your hands to form balls from the mixture. These should be about golf ball sized. Squeeze the mixture in your hands before shaping into a ball to ensure they won’t fall apart. 

  10. Brush each meatless ball with olive oil.

  11. Bake them for 15 minutes, then turn each one over and bake for another 15 minutes. They can also be pan fried, or rolled in ground almonds and deep fried. 

  12. Serve on a bed of fragrant rice, with tomato sauce, and garnish with coriander and toasted flaked almonds. 

Fragrant Rice
  1. Cook rice as per rice instructions.

  2. Once cooked, add the preserved lemon and mix through. Leave the lid on the rice for a few minutes once the lemons are mixed in, so the flavour can infuse.

Passata-based Tomato Sauce
  1. Fry the garlic in the olive oil with the cumin and paprika.

  2. Once the flavours are released, add the passata. Add the chili if using.

  3. Add the red wine and cook for 10 minutes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper.